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Europe's most inspiring innovators turn up for the 2018 SME assembly

Europe's most inspiring innovators turn up for the 2018 SME assembly
By Serge RombiJad Salfiti
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Entrepreneurs and policy makers attend the 2018 SME assembly to celebrate and learn about Europe's most innovative small and medium‑sized enterprises (SMEs)


The small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) assembly has just taken place in Graz, Austria. It’s the premier event dedicated to European SMEs.

In Europe, 99% of companies are SMEs. They provide more than two out of three jobs and generate more than half of the added value created by all enterprises in the European economy.  With more than 25 million of them operating in Europe, they form the backbone of the European economy.

Major themes at the assembly included International expansion, digitization, and new customers. With a strong emphasis that in order to grow, start-ups needed to finance their innovations.

A good example of a successful European funded project is the SunnyBAG. A backpack that is equipped with a solar panel that can charge a smartphone, tablet or even a laptop.

Designed in Graz, the company was able to finance itself thanks to European support. From research and development to marketing and, even, intellectual property. 

Since 2012, up to 100,000 sunny bags have been sold worldwide. 

According to the regional minister of economy in Styria, Barbara Eibinger-Miedl, the results are tangible

"In Styria, one out of every two euros is generated by our companies. Coming from exports, it shows us that, our enterprises can gain a foothold in the global market, thanks to these innovations."

The event took place in Styria which has 5 SME development clusters. These centers help business to grow and include SMEs, large companies, but also the education system.

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